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Artist Sara Pichelli visited the world famous CBR Tiki Room at New York Comic Con 2013 and spoke with Jonah Weiland in a wide ranging interview covering her first five years working in comics — including how her career actually started as a joke — the pressure of tackling high-profile assignments and why she prefers to draw comics digitally. The pair also discuss her desire to do creator-owned comics in the future, her artistic influences and what went into the design process for Miles Morales.
On her career starting as a joke: I started my career as a joke in the beginning because I tried sending my stuff and I really didn’t do any kind of comic book before Chesterquest and I was among the winners. I said, “Oh, wow! Let’s try something.” And then Marvel arrived, I said, “Oh, wow, English scripts [Laughs, American editors, oh yeah. Brian Bendis? Okay, let’s breathe.”
On why she feels so comfortably working digitally: I started working digitally even before the Cintiq because when I used to work in the studio as a character designer I used the Wacom tablet, you know, the simple one. And I used many programs and software and it was natural for me. When I started doing comic books — in the beginning I used to work traditionally on paper, I said, “Let’s try what I used to do in animation.” For me it’s faster. I’m quicker. I lay out the page, clean it up a little bit, and then I ink it. So it’s different than the traditional way for me. On traditional, I’m slower.
On her desire to do creator-owned comics: I really want to, but I’m just waiting for the right moment. For now I’m really having fun doing these kind of books. … I really like fantasy, but not “Lord of the Rings” fantasy. More Guillermo del Toro fantasy, “Pan’s Labyrinth.” This kind of visionary stuff.
On what went into creating Miles Morales for “Ultimate Comics Spider-Man: It’s difficult to explain because this is my “field,” it’s what I really did for years — create a personality, the body language, the expressions of the characters. So it’s research of creating a believable personality. It starts from the look of the clothes and it ends with the body language or the background of the character. So I think about the story of the character and try to imagine a real person doing that. So that’s what is my kind of research. It’s not just visual — I do it, of course — it’s trying to create a personality, to build a personality.